Our Kindergartens

Witherlea News

Up to date news and events at Witherlea Kindergarten.

Cherry Blossoms

Our cherry trees are in full blossom at the moment, and the children are enjoying observing the blossoms sway in the wind and drift down like snow flakes to the ground. We discussed how the children could express their creativity through painting, and we decided to capture and extend their interest by getting them to create special “Japanese” paintings.

Children observed real blossom, and had a sample of a Japanese painting of cherry blossom as a point of reference for how to paint the branches and the blossom. This activity captured the children’s imagination, and everyone wanted to paint one.

We also read the story “The Witch in the Cherry Tree” by Margaret Mahy, and sourced Youtube clips of the Cherry Blossom Parade in Alexandra, New Zealand, and also Japanese families picnicking under cherry blossoms in Japan during their Cherry Blossom Festival.


Kaipupu Point

In the lead up to our excursion to Kaipupu Point Wildlife Sanctuary, Andrew came and showed the children birds they might see including Shining Cuckoo, Tui, Bellbird and Kereru.  The children were shown how to handle the stuffed birds and how the bird perches on the branch of a tree with its three claws in the front and one claw behind.  Then Andrew introduced the predators that eat our native birds - the rat, stoat, ferret, possum and wild cat.  Lastly he showed the children three different types of traps used at Kaipupu Point, a tunnel they use with bait and ink to record predator's footprints and a wooden house they have made for Little Blue Penguins to nest in.



Signing with Stefan


Stefan continued teaching the children sign language and the depth of learning has been evident in the children's ability to remember and participate both with Stefan and the teachers.  Whanau frequently comment on the amazing progress their children have been making with this, the third official language of Aotearoa.

Teaching Team's top tips for gardening with children

1. What is your top tip for gardening with children successfully?

It needs to be fun and you need to model interest and enjoyment in gardening yourself, as well as including the children in all the processes involved in the preparation of the soil (eg using compost and worm farm), planting, growing, harvesting and preparation of food.  Children learn best by having a go and doing it themselves (with adult supervision).

2. Why is it important to teach children about gardening?

It is important for them to know how to grow their own food (self-sufficiency), for healthy eating habits, and for conservation purposes.  Education for future generations.

3. What are some of the main things the children have learned through gardening at the kindergarten?

Children have been more willing to try new tastes, and their interest and enjoyment of eating vegetables has increased, much to the amazement of their families.  One child today expressed his disappointment that we didn't have cauliflower growing in the garden as he really loves eating cauliflower!  They have acquired a positive, healthy approach to growing and eating food, and knowledge of what plants need to grow (soil, sun, water).  Children have learned patience while waiting for their favorite vegetable/fruit to grow and remain enthusiastic about carrying out mundane tasks, such as watering and weeding.

4. How can parents get their children involved in gardening at home?

Start their own small vege garden at home.

5. Your own top gardening tip?

Remember to water the plants!

(Article form Marlborough Express: Where Magic Happens 8/3/2013)

Taniwha Art Work


A taniwha interest emerged and captivated the children's imaginations over most of the term. This was evident in some of their amazing art work of taniwha.  Literacy and Maori legends were read and explored and the children became enthusiastic learners of these, using this language in their dramatic play outside, using a net over the geo-gym.

This learning was brought to life when we went on an excursion to Rarangi Beach.  "Art on the beach" of taniwha evolved using the natural resources there.  A walk to visit the 'taniwha cave' (as depicted in the Maori legend for this region) was an exciting conclusion to this journey.